As part of its G7 presidency, the German government is seeking to raise €50 billion in financial aid for Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced at a press conference on Tuesday evening. “A significant part is already covered by pledges, but there is still something missing,” he reported.
A significant part of this sum will go towards the massive rearming of the Ukrainian army. In this way, Germany and the other NATO powers are pursuing the declared goal of continuing the war until Russia is completely defeated, even if this takes months or even years. In doing so, they are deliberately accepting the risk of a nuclear confrontation that would render large parts of the earth uninhabitable.
The German government has allocated several billion euros for arms deliveries to Ukraine. By the end of March, it had approved arms deliveries worth €186 million for Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Economics. Last Friday, it became known that it was increasing the so-called strengthening aid for partner countries in crisis regions from €225 million to €2 billion this year. More than half of this sum is to go towards armaments for Ukraine.
Also last week, the European Union increased its funding for arms deliveries to Ukraine from €1 billion to €1.5 billion. According to Chancellor Scholz, this money is also “to a large extent a German contribution.”
So far, the biggest donor has been the US, which since the start of the war on February 24 has handed over weaponry worth $3.2 billion to Ukrainian troops, trained Ukrainian soldiers and also provided logistical support to the Ukrainian army. But with the sums now announced, Germany is not far behind the US.
The weapons which are being supplied range from vast quantities of ammunition to highly effective anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to artillery pieces, tanks and combat aircraft. While there is still a public debate in Germany about whether to limit what is sent to so-called defensive weapons or also to supply heavy offensive weapons, Scholz made clear that there has long been a division of labour among the NATO partners.
Whereas Germany has so far mainly provided machine guns, bazookas, anti-aircraft missiles and equipment from Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) stockpiles, Ukraine can now directly access German arms companies, with the German government picking up the bill. “We have asked the German arms industry to tell us what materiel they can supply in the near future,' Scholz explained. “Ukraine has now made a selection from that list, and we are providing it with the money it needs to make the purchases.” These included, he said, “what can be used in an artillery engagement.”
Scholz evaded the question of whether this also meant heavy weaponry, such as tanks and cannons. He rejected the delivery of heavy weapons from Bundeswehr stocks on the grounds that the Bundeswehr could not do without them without weakening its own operational readiness—a view shared by senior generals. At the same time, he made clear that the US and the Netherlands would be “helped” to equip Ukraine with heavy artillery from their stocks. In the longer term, something like this could certainly also be supplied from Germany.
The German government has also long since given the green light for the delivery of heavy weapons from former German Democratic Republic (East German) stocks that are in the possession of Eastern European NATO members. Now, in a kind of “roundabout swap,” it also wants to compensate Eastern European countries that supply Ukraine with heavy Soviet-style weapons with modern weapons, he said.
The gigantic arms shipments to Ukraine underline that NATO is waging a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Its goals are not freedom and democracy for Ukraine, which serve merely as a means to an end, but the subjugation of Russia, control over its vast landmass and unhindered access to its valuable raw materials. The invasion of Ukraine by the reactionary regime of Vladimir Putin, in response to NATO’s encirclement of Russia, has provided the latter with the necessary pretext to put these plans into action.
Chancellor Scholz, speaking to the press after an online summit with the heads of the governments of the US, France, Britain, Poland, Canada, Italy, Romania and representatives of the EU, left no doubt about NATO’s real goals. It is seeking the military defeat and economic ruin of Russia and has no interest in ending the war any time soon through a ceasefire.
“Our common goal, the goal of dozens of nations that are now supporting Ukraine with financial aid and with military supplies, is to make the Ukrainian military capable of resisting the Russian attack,” Scholz stressed.
He accused the Russian president of being responsible for war crimes. A “dictatorial peace,” as Putin had in mind, was unacceptable. “Together with our partners in the EU and in NATO, we are in complete agreement: Russia must not win this war. We will continue to actively support Ukraine.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green Party) was even more outspoken. During a visit to the Latvian capital Riga, she said that Berlin would continue to help Ukraine militarily in the medium and long term in its defensive struggle against Russia. “It is also about the next three months and also the next three years. And here Germany will be able to contribute more.” The supply of armoured vehicles was also “not taboo for Germany, even if it sometimes sounds that way in the German debate,” she added.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s former Defence Minister, also insisted on the supply of heavy weapons. “I do not distinguish between heavy and light weapons,” she explained in an interview with Bild. The Ukrainian armed forces must get what they need and could handle, she said. Ukraine could win the war, she said, but it was necessary to prepare for the fact that “at worst, the war could last for months, even years.”
The financing of the Ukrainian war with billions of euros shows the real meaning of the “turn of the times” that Chancellor Scholz proclaimed in the Bundestag (federal parliament) at the beginning of the war. Some 81 years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which cost the lives of almost 30 million Soviet citizens, including millions of Jews, German tanks are again rolling towards Moscow.
Even the Berlin correspondent for the BBC, which is otherwise fully on the side of NATO, had noticed this. He quoted the foreign policy spokesman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group, Nils Schmid, saying, “There will be no cooperation with Russia in the foreseeable future. It will be more about containment and deterrence and, if necessary, defence against Russia.”
The BBC journalist then commented, “Unexpectedly harsh words for a party that until seven weeks ago believed Germany’s historical guilt and moral duty to make amends for Nazi crimes meant peace with Russia at any price.”
Under the pressure of the deepest social, economic and political crisis of world capitalism since the 1930s, German imperialism is returning to its old militarist traditions. The risks it is taking in doing so are enormous. The Russian government has the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world and has threatened to use it if NATO further intensifies its offensive.
All the establishment parties—the SPD, Greens and Liberal Democrats (FDP), as well as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Christian Democrats (CDU/ CSU) and the Left Party—support this war. Only an independent movement of the international working class fighting for a socialist perspective can stop it.